[E-voting] Irish Times today - Friday 3/12/2004

Ciaran Mac Lochlainn ciaran17 at eircom.net
Fri Mar 12 12:29:05 GMT 2004

John Lambe wrote:

>There isn't anything very important.
>There was one letter on electronic voting.
>It's not really relevant and somewhat nonsensical (for eaxmple, the
>author seems to think that you cannot have multiple preferences with a
>non-electronic voting system and doesn't seem to understand PR-STV).
>The author is in favour of some sort of audit.
I've met Peter Emerson, he's been working for years to develop more 
representative voting systems, e.g multi dimensional arrays where you 
can vote for your choice of Ministers and decide which portfolios they 
get as well.  The voting could be kept simple but the count would be so 
complex that it would only be practical with some form of electronic 
assistance.  He does understand PR-STV, he just thinks it can be 
improved on.

>"Madam, - Amid all the noise about electronic voting, most people are
>talking about the voters, and few are discussing the elected
>representatives. Yet if the voters are to cast their preferences
>electronically in elections, could not the TDs do the same in
>An experiment on electronic voting was held in Belfast in 1991. 
>...the 100 participants voted. A computer then displayed both the
>voters' audit and the result: the option with the highest average
>This, surely, is the great advantage of electronic voting: that it can
>cope with multi-option preference voting and thus cater for a plural
>There must, of course, be a paper (or electronic) audit, and everyone
>must be aware of the counting procedures involved.
>In decision-making, as in any rankings system, we identify the option
>with the highest average preference. In elections, because of the
>complications of PR-STV, the count should be done in stages, and all
>transfers should be done on the basis of a full (rather than a random)
>But first things first. Let's start by modernising the Dáil (and the
>EU). - Yours, etc.,
>PETER EMERSON, Director, The de Borda Institute, Ballysillan Road,
>Belfast 14."
>(Doesn't the Dail already have an electronic voting system).

If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out
but tomfoolery.  But this tomfoolery, having passed through
a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no-one
dare criticise it.
                -- Pierre Gallois

More information about the E-voting mailing list